Sonia's Reviews > Parrot and Olivier in America

Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
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Sep 24, 2011

it was amazing
Recommended to Sonia by: book club
Recommended for: everyone
Read on December 01, 2010 , read count: 1

Parrot and Olivier is my top must-read selection for 2010. I didn't read the book, I listened to it, and am highly recommending the audible version because the narrator's characterizations made the book comical and highly entertaining. Perhaps because the characters have strong French and British accents, I had to listen to the first two or three chapters several times before I got used to the rhythms of their voice and came to understand who these people really were and what they stood for.

Parrot is a clever commoner, a British citizen with an uncommon upbringing who is charged with overseeing and reporting on the exploits of Olivier, a French citizen of peripherally royal ancestry who is being duped by his family when they send him on a fact-finding mission to America. The author treats us to a full and thorough account of their personal histories before he puts them together in the story. That device ultimately serves to inform the reader about all that does not have to be written about within the plot in order to understand the poignant developments as these two people turn slowly from antagonists to friends.

In America they find people, customs, and a political structure that is quite unlike any they have known, and become entranced and enmeshed with all that it has to offer. If you can stick with it and find your sea legs for the way the novel flows back and forth between the character's own description of events as they travel individually and together across the seas, you will be mightily rewarded with a smart and rollicking adventure to the New World!
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